I have to rave about Jim Snidero‘s great series of books, Jazz Conception. He has them out for Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Flute, Clarinet, Guitar, Trumpet and probably more. The book comes with a CD of the music being performed by a great artist on whatever instrument. On the Alto version it’s Jim Snidero himself (and he sounds GREAT), on the Tenor CD it’s Walt Weiskopf, on the Flute CD it’s Frank Weis, on the Clarinet CD it’s Ken Peplowski.
The books feature the same 21 etudes. They’ve been transposed for instruments other than Alto Saxophone. The Etudes are based on well known chord changes, like #12 IND Line is based on A-Train changes, and #13 Father Song is based on the changes to Song for my Father. The etudes introduce all the standard articulations and stylistic things one would need to know to play jazz. The first etude, Groove Blues, has scoopes and falls. The next etude introduces ghosting of notes.
My only gripe, and it’s a small one, is that there is not a separate CD for backgrounds. True, you can turn the pan over to right and you’d get just the rhythm section, by why not just include a separate CD with the backgrounds by themselves? Since I insist on students interested in jazz to get this book, I made a separate CD that has just the backgrounds so the kids can play without the soloist. You’d be surprised how many boomboxes have no left/right panning.
In all, Jim Snidero’s Jazz Conception series is great. I have 4th and 5th graders able to play Groove Blues, and A-Doll. Some can play some of the others as well. I hope Jim Snidero will add to this series of books.